This Simple Rigatoni Recipe from Julius Roberts Features a 'Velvety' Spinach-Kale Sauce

“Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be good," says the author of the 'Farm Table' cookbook

<p>Jen Causey</p> Julius Roberts

Jen Causey

Julius Roberts's Rigatoni with Spinach-Kale Sauce and Ricotta

Less is more when it comes to Julius Roberts's cooking style.

“Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be good," says the author of the Farm Table cookbook.

In his pasta recipe, which comes together in just 30 minutes, Roberts turns spinach and kale into a "velvety" sauce.

"With flavorful ingredients like these, it’s best to just keep it simple and let them shine,” he says. "Its very green and rich with a sweet garlicky undertone. It is great finished with a little ricotta or Parmesan."

Related: Ching-He Huang's 20-Minute Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup Is 'Substantial but Still Light'

Julius Roberts's Rigatoni with Spinach-Kale Sauce and Ricotta

1 large (7 oz.) bunch lacinato kale, stemmed (about 5 cups)

3½ cups (about 3½ oz.) packed fresh baby spinach

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

16 oz. uncooked rigatoni pasta

¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 tsp. grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon), plus fresh juice for serving

½ tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup ricotta cheese

Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, grated (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add kale, and return to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally until kale is bright green and softened, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and garlic cloves; cook until spinach has darkened and wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer greens and garlic to a colander and run under cold water until completely cool. Squeeze gently to remove excess liquid.

2. Return pot of cooking water to a boil over high; add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and return pasta to pot.

3. While pasta cooks, process greens and garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and salt in a blender until smooth and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to pot with pasta and stir to coat. Heat over low, and gradually add ½ cup of the reserved cooking water, stirring constantly, until evenly coated, adding more cooking water as needed to reach desired consistency.

4. Divide pasta among serving bowls; top each with ricotta. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.

Serves: 6
Active time:
 30 minutes
Total time:
 30 minutes

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